George McFly, a 9th grader at Texas Hill Valley High School, is dreading the first day of school. As has been the case since the 3rd grade, Biff Tannen has made McFly’s life at school absolutely miserable. First, there was the time that Biff accidentally tripped McFly in the cafeteria which sent McFly (along with his Salisbury steak, mashed potatoes and creamed corn) sailing through a crowded cafeteria. Next, there was the time that Biff stuffed McFly’s locker with a road kill armadillo. And who could forget the pantsing incident in front of the varsity cheerleading squad? Not to mention the naming daily calling, pushing, punching and bathroom swirlies. Determined to protect their son from another year of heartache, McFly’s parents approached the school’s board of trustees and announced that if the bullying continues during this new school year, they want McFly transferred to another campus. Must the school district honor this request?

Yes. With an estimated 15%-25% of children being bullied at school, state legislatures have passed laws to address the problem. Currently, 43 states have anti-bullying laws on the books. The Texas Education Code defines bullying as written, verbal, or physical action that physically harms a student or her property or causes a reasonable fear of injury. Schools are mandated to include in their student code of conduct specific language that prohibits bullying, harassment and “hit lists” and to ensure that the employees enforce the prohibitions. If a parent believes that his or her child is a victim of bullying, that parent may request a transfer to a different classroom or campus. Once a determination has been made (usually by the board of trustees) that bullying has in fact occurred, the Hill Valley High School will likely be required to grant the McFly’s transfer request.